Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Designing Suvnica, Week 8: Curses and Tricks

Hey everybody. This week, we're starting Stage 3 of Suvnica design. We have working creative identities for each of the guilds, now it's time to really start pinning down the mechanical. I know a lot of you have been eager to start coming up with guild keywords, and this week we're doing that for the Zhavi and the Tezzi guilds.


I've broken down the guilds by set at this point, and these two are both in set 1 as the guildpact's strongest proponent and most vocal critics.

The Zhavi

For the current creative vision of the Zhavi, take a look at their Guild Profile Page

One of the major ways that the Zhavi enforce the guildpact is through direct assassination. But they also have some more subtle means of enforcement, including casting debilitating (and sometimes lethal) curses on the individuals that threaten their power. Since repeatable creature kill doesn't seem like a great basis for a guild keyword, I decided to look more at the Zhavi's use of curses.





I was aiming for a kind of reverse sliver idea - every one of your opponent's creatures that is cursed shares its curse with all other cursed creatures. It's definitely not a perfect keyword, but I do think that it doesn't push up against the bounds of NWO too much.


I do worry that it's too parasitic. What do you guys think?

The Tezzi

For the current creative vision of the Tezzi, take a look at their Guild Profile Page

The big theme with these guys is their use of tricks. 



This conceptually is somewhere between ninjutsu and morph. Your opponent thinks they're blocking one creature, but surprise! it's a different creature.

A couple of notes. First of all, I do find it a little odd that {U}{R} gets a creature combat keyword. That's not ideal. Second of all, it's super not NWO-friendly. This will eat up a lot of the fabled complexity points at common that are allowed, which is why I left the common creatures as virtual vanillas. I still think that its pushing it.

Finally, I'm really not sure that it works. I'm pretty sure you can substitute creatures in combat, but it may require targeting and even more lines of reminder text than I currently have. Aetherplasm essentailly does this on defense. Can it be done on the attack? Would the creature have to enter tapped? It might simplify if I did limit unveil to attacking and clarify that it was tapped, attacking, and blocked by all creatures blocking the one you returned.





I thought this might be a nice card to riff all the creatures entering and bouncing back to your hand.

Design Challenge

You guys have been waiting patiently to start coming up with guild keywords. Well, have at it. Come up with a keyword (or ability word) for Tezzi and Zhavi. Try to show off variations on the keyword across different rarities and in both colors (and multicolor). If you can think of a rare (or (p)reprint) on-color that helps support your keyword, throw one of those into the mix too. Try to make sure that the keyword can be supported by at least a handful of commons under NWO. 

Good luck, and have fun with it.


62 comments:

  1. I think a creature keyword would be fine for the Tezzi, but this is a bit too much. Rosewater noted that Ninjutsu would never be seen below uncommon in NWO nowadays, so I don't think this would fly either - especially since guild keywords are supposed to be simple, since there's so many of them.

    The Zhavi keyword is flavorful, but I'm not a fan of how it plays with the guild's style - Zhavi are assassins and judges and executioners, right? But this plays poorly with removal. :/

    What if the Zhavi got bonuses whenever a hexed creature died? That way it's essentially 'sentencing a creature to death' - and it sets these gus as proactive, a nice parallel to the slow and grindy Orzhov. And since it establishes a pattern for all the effects (trigger on a hexed creatures death), it might actually be easier for playtesters to grok.

    For the Tezzi, the solution is trickier. We need a keyword that feels 'tricky', has possibilities, but is not too complex. Perhaps something along the lines of the following:

    Presto (Whenever ~ deals combat damage to an opponent, you may return it to your hand. If you do, you may cast an instant or sorcery spell from your hand that costs less than this card without paying its mana cost.)

    Basically, your creature disappears in a puff of smoke, replaced with a magical effect. Of course, this is still quite complex... and quite powerful... :/

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    1. Re: Zhavi assassins - while assassination is a major part of their flavor, there is really only so much permanent creature removal that a guild is going to be able to have without being vastly unbalanced. There will be assassins, but it can't be the guild's keyword focus. It's not so bad with removal, it just makes removal more strategic. It's another reason why hex counters penalties stack with multiple counters on the same creatures.

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    2. As long as condemn plays into removal sometimes, I see no conflict between the two.

      Presto is terrible in its current form. It nets you neither mana, cards, nor options. I'd rather see:

      Presto (Whenever ~ deals X combat damage to a player, you may cast a sorcery or instant card from your hand with CMC <= X without paying its mana cost.)

      or:

      Presto (Whenever you cast a sorcery or instant spell, you may return ~ to your hand.)

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    3. Prescue would be cool on a couple cards, but I think it would make for a bad guildwide keyword.

      As an another presto design,

      Presto 2R (when this deals combat damage, the mana cost of the next instant or sorcery spell you cast this turn is reduced by 2R)

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    4. Jay: I had that originally, but I thought it was too strong for common.

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  2. If hex counters exist at common, I don't think we can use +1/+1 counters.

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    1. I was wondering about that. I think you might be right.

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    2. HavelockV is 100% correct. The explicit stated purpose of the 1 counter type policy is to avoid ambiguity about what counters are on a creature. Since Condemn can hit any creature there's no way to keep the counters from getting mixed up with +1/+1 counters.

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    3. Something to bear in mind then.

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  3. [Zhavi brainstorming]

    "Condemn" is a great name-- it was what I was going to use for my mechanic. Namely:

    Condemn [something]. (Put a curse counter on it. It gains "At the beginning of each upkeep, sacrifice this unless you pay {1}.")

    I was also thinking that the Blight mechanic from GDS2 would be a good fit here:

    Condemn [something]. (Put a curse counter on it, then destroy each other permanent with a curse counter on it.)

    This has the advantage that there are fewer memory issues, since normally there will only be one curse counter on the board at a time. Havelock is probably right that we can't have more than one counter type at common, though.

    Along the same lines of "less than Murder", what about:

    Banish [something]. (Exile it. For as long as it stays exiled, its owner may cast it from exile.)

    And finally, what about something completely different? One thing white and black have in common is that they like to punish opponents who attack them, which plays into the Zhavi "do ruthless stuff to keep the peace" mentality. So we can make an ability word that cares about getting attacked:

    [Instant version]
    Police-- If one or more creatures is attacking you, [effect].

    [Permanent version]
    Police-- Whenever one or more creatures attacks you, [effect].

    I haven't decided yet which of these mechanics to make cards for. I'd appreciate feedback on which (if any) of them have good design potential.

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    1. Adding a lot of upkeep costs to creatures may be an option, but we run into the same problem with counters. Blight is a fine mechanic, but we can definitely come up with original ones for the guilds (I was a little disappointed that GDS2 mechanics made it into Gatecrash - it made the guilds feel a little less exciting).

      Banish is great on a white card, but black is going to look at it and rather the target just be dead. It does run into some major card advantage problems if it's a creature etb ability, much moreso than detain.

      I think police has the most potential of the group. I really like that it can work as both a spell and permanent ability word. That has a lot of potential.

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    2. Banish is just Boomerang that doesn't combo with discard.

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    3. OK, now I'm sheepishly realizing that Banish is basically just "return to hand". So that's out. From the discussion regarding counter types, it sounds like Condemn won't work well either. So I'm going to go ahead and make some Police cards. I'm not in love with the mechanic because the timing is a little bit weird and it's similar to "when CARDNAME blocks" effects, but a guild mechanic doesn't need too much design space anyway. So, cards:

      Zhavi Enforcer (Common)
      WB
      Creature- Kor Soldier
      2/1
      Police-- Whenever one or more creatures attack you, put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.

      Knight of Pardons (Uncommon)
      2W
      Creature- Human Knight
      2/2
      Protection from black
      Police-- Whenever one or more creatures attacks you, you gain 2 life.

      Knight of Reprisals (Uncommon)
      2B
      Creature- Human Knight
      2/2
      Protection from white
      Police-- Whenever one or more creatures attacks you, target opponent loses 2 life.

      Council's Approval (Common)
      2W
      Instant
      Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn. Police-- If one or more creatures attacked you this turn, creatures you control gain indestructible until end of turn.

      Cull the Malcontent (Common)
      B
      Instant
      Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Police-- If one or more creatures attacked you this turn, that creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn instead.

      Merciless Arbiter (Rare)
      4WB
      Creature- Avatar
      3/5
      Flying, lifelink
      Police-- Whenever one or more creatures attack you, target opponent sacrifices a creature.

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  4. As far as the Tezzi go, I really like Unveil-- it has good flavor and makes them do all the things they want to do. It's like a scrappier version of ninjutsu. But there might be rules difficulties. An interesting alternate version might be:

    Unveil [Cost] ([Cost], reveal CARDNAME from your hand: Target creature you control becomes a copy of CARDNAME until end of turn. Activate this ability at most once per turn.)

    It's pretty blue mechanically, but there are definitely some interesting things for red to do with it. At any rate, I strongly support a mechanic that cares about creatures. Tezzi *should* be focused on small, evasive, tricky creatures, not on instants and sorceries.

    Cards:

    Vaporous Form (Common)
    2U
    Creature- Illusion
    0/6
    Unveil 1U

    Mogg Prankster (Common)
    1R
    Creature- Goblin
    1/1
    When CARDNAME dies, it deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
    Unveil R

    Puff of Smoke (Uncommon)
    1UR
    Creature- Elemental
    0/1
    When CARDNAME dies, return it to its owner's hand.
    Unveil 1UR

    Hidden Rebel and Lightning Field also work great with this version of unveil, though the costs probably need to be changed around a little.

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    1. MaRo has said that NWO prohibits copy effects at common (barring nothing complex to copy, like Populate), which is sad because this mechanic is awesome. I wonder if we can do it by only using french vanillas at common:

      *Vaporous Form (Common)
      2U
      Creature- Illusion
      0/6
      Unveil 1U

      Burning Form {3}{R}
      Creature-Illusion (C)
      Unveil {2}{R}
      4/1

      Winged Form {U}
      Creature-Illusion (C)
      Flying
      Unveil {U}
      1/1

      Unstoppable Form {4}{R}
      Creature-Illusion (C)
      Trample
      Unveil {3}{R}
      5/2

      I'm not sure what to do for multicolor since {U} and {R} have no keyword overlap, but even if we work that out these creatures require very careful development. Anything that you consistently want to turn a creature into leads to repetitive gameplay since your opponent has to kill all of your creatures to stop it from attacking or blocking.

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    2. Good points. The guild probably doesn't need more than 4 or 5 commons with the mechanic (especially if we're squeezing everything into one set!?) so French vanilla designs ought to be sufficient for common. Multicolor common cards can be vanilla(Golgari Longlegs, Armored Wolf-Rider) so there should be no problem with a multicolor vanilla unveil common. As far as power level goes, the fact that these cards require a lot of mana and are known to the opponent after the first use should make it possible to play around them.

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    3. We're not squeezing everything into one set. The guilds will be divided up among three sets, 4/3/3, matching Ravnica's original structure. Zhavi and Tezzi are both in the first set.

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    4. This is so much better than what I came up with.

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    5. I think it's worth spending complexity points to make this work at common. We can expand on it too:

      Still Thinking {U}
      Sorcery (cmn)
      Draw a card.
      Unveil {U} ({U}, Reveal CARDNAME from your hand: Target spell you control becomes a copy of CARDNAME.)


      Still Burning {1R}
      Sorcery (unc)
      ~ deals 2 damage to each creature.
      Unveil {1R} ({1R}, Reveal CARDNAME from your hand: Target spell you control becomes a copy of CARDNAME.)

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    6. Incidentally, even keeping it to vanillaish creatures at common doesn't really help in NWO - the concern here is less to do with memory issues and much more to do with the layer system. Things start becoming really unintuitive when creatures become copies of other creatures.

      Jay's version is even less NWO friendly, as it impliedly references the stack, which is almost never done at common.

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    7. I really don't get how making basically a much worse splice (that can turn sorceries into instants, too!) is going to make a useful mechanic. Unless you do something like.

      Still Burning {R}
      Sorcery/instant
      Unveil {2R} ({2R}, Reveal CARDNAME from your hand: Target spell you control becomes a copy of CARDNAME.)
      ~ deals 2 damage to target creature. If ~ was unveiled, instead it deals 4 damage to that creature.

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    8. those should be {2}{R}, not {2r} >>

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    9. I like the idea of a spell version of unveil, but it should probably be its own mechanic. It does something completely different gameplay-wise, and in most cases you just want it to cost the same as the normal mode of the spell. What it basically lets you do is say "Oh, sorry, I meant to cast *this*!" except that you still have to pay the original spell's mana cost, which gives you great flexibility and the ability to cost the same spell many times if needed. I have no idea how / whether it would work with targeting rules, though.

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  5. One option for the Tezzi:

    Trick {COST} (Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may cast ~ for its trick cost.)

    Disappearing Act {1}{U}
    Sorcery (C)
    Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand.
    Trick {U} (Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may cast ~ for its trick cost.)

    Nothing Up My Sleeve {1}{R}
    Sorcery (C)
    Target creature gets +2/+0 and gains first strike until end of turn.
    Trick {1}{R} (Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may cast ~ for its trick cost.)

    Headturner {U/R}
    Sorcery (U)
    Switch target creature's power and toughness until end of turn.
    Trick {1}{U/R} (Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may cast ~ for its trick cost.)

    Explosive Display {2}{R}
    Sorcery (R)
    ~ deals 3 damage divided as you choose among one, two, or three target creatures and/or players.
    Trick {1}{R} (Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may cast ~ for its trick cost.)

    Mystify {2}{U}
    Sorcery (R)
    Draw a card for each tapped creature.
    Trick {3}{U} (Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may cast ~ for its trick cost.)

    Impactful Performance {R}
    Sorcery (R)
    Whenever target creature is dealt damage this turn, it deals that much damage to its controller.
    Trick {1}{R} (Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may cast ~ for its trick cost.)

    The design space of {U} and {R} effects that are relevant after blockers, but not irrelevant at other times is smaller than I'd like, but it might be big enough for a single set. I'll come back with something for Zhavi later.

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    1. This was my original idea for the Tezzi keyword, but it just doesn't seem that interesting. "It's like an instant but you can only optimally cast it if your creature is blocked" is really just a less exciting instant. Maybe if the trick worked as a kicker kind of deal - if you cast this for its trick cost, copy it/double the effect/substitute this effect - it could play a little better.

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    2. Maybe "Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may cast ~ targeting that creature for its trick cost"?

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  6. Condemn isn't parasitic, but it doesn't feel like a keyword at all. Now if you put on as an ability word for the ability relating to the hex counters... You could also make it broader by having it trigger for all counters, not just hex ones?

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  7. If you want to use hex counters on creatures, keep in mind what that means as far as using +1/+1 (or -1/-1) counters within the block.

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    1. Your probably right. I just feel like condemn has a lot of potential - its frustrating that it can't exist in a set with PT modifying counters.

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  8. My ideas for Zhavi and Tezzi:

    Zhavi (W/B): Vindication (name very much subject to change)
    Whenever (another) creature dies, EFFECT. This is a "pseudo"-keyword like Battalion. It's very simple, but might be used so often outside Suvnica that keywording it is weird. Anyway, here goes.

    Black's side of Vindication is about killing, shrinking, draining, discarding. A few Designs:

    Vindication Torturer 3B
    Creature - Human Rogue (C)
    Vindication - Whenever another creature dies, you may have target creature get -1/-1 until end of turn.
    2/3
    (reminescent of Dreamspoiler Witches)

    Vindication Drinker 1B
    Creature - Kor Cleric (U)
    Vindication - Whenever another creature dies, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain life equal to the life lost this way.
    1/1
    (Extort on death, basically)

    Vindication Rats 4BB
    Creature - Rat (R)
    Deathtouch.
    Vindication - Whenever another creature dies, destroy target creature.
    1/1
    (A wrath as soon as a creature dies - the ability is not optional due to power-level concerns, but perhaps it should be?)

    The white side of Vindication is a little more focused on your own side of things.

    Vindication Warden W
    Creature - Human Cleric (C)
    Vindication - Whenever another creature dies, gain 1 life.
    1/1
    (Soul Warden for death - a stretch in white, as death triggers are, but works very well with the Zhavi flavor, I feel)

    Vindication Pacifism 2W
    Enchantment - Aura (U)
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature can't attack or block.
    Vindication - Whenever a creature dies, you may attach CARDNAME to another creature it could enchant.
    (Pacifism - notice vindication does not say "another" on non-creature permanents - should it? Or should it have that as implicit rules baggage should we be able to animate this? I don't plan on having it on artifacts.)

    A multicolored card could look something like this.

    Vindication Beckoner WB
    Creature - Kor Cleric (R)
    Vindication - Whenever another creature dies, you may exile it. If you do, put a black and white 1/1 spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
    1/1

    ---

    My Tezzi mechanic goes on instants and sorceries (though it could technically go on permanents, we can experiment with that later). It's called "Chain".

    Chain MANA (you may cast this spell for its chain cost if you cast another instant or sorcery this turn. Cast only one spell for its chain cost for each non-chained spell cast this turn.)

    A bit wordy, but it has a nice storm-like feel without being inherently broken (though we do have to watch out). It is very nice to make tempo plays (which U/R is fond of, mechanically) and can lead to some nice tricks and mindgames (play a sorcery pre-combat and attack - you could have a now-cheapened trick, etc.).

    On blue, this works to grind us ahead.

    Chained Divination 3U
    Sorcery (C)
    Draw two cards.
    Chain U (could be 1U for balancing, I guess.)

    It also allows us to reprint Counterspell! Well, not really...

    Chained Counterspell 3UU
    Instant (U)
    Counter target spell.
    Chain UU

    ... And put in some nice enabling tools.

    Chain Enabler U
    Instant (C)
    Draw a card.

    In red, we're more combat-oriented.

    Chained Slaughter Cry 3R
    Instant (C)
    Target creature gets +3/+0 and gains first strike until end of turn.
    Chain R

    Since we can get a little creature-light in this kind of deck, we could put in some token-makers.

    Chained Goblin Rally 3RR
    Sorcery (U)
    Put four red 1/1 goblin creature tokens onto the battlefield.
    Chain RR

    Chained Giant 3R
    Sorcery (C)
    Put a red 3/3 giant creature token onto the battlefield.
    Chain 1R

    Where it gets really tricksy is, of course, in the gold section.

    Chained Copy 2UR
    Instant (R)
    Copy target instant or sorcery twice. You may choose new targets for the copies.
    Chain UR

    ... Whaddya think?

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    1. I think it's mean to name a mechanic "chain" and then add text that prevents players from chaining the effects together.

      Chain [cost] (You may cast this spell for [cost] if you cast another sorcery or instant this turn.)

      Perhaps more interesting:

      Chain [mana] (Sorcery or instant spells cost you up to [mana] less to cast this turn.)

      or even:

      Chain (If you cast another spell this turn with CMC one less, draw a card.)

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    2. I was also considering a Zhavi mechanic along the lines of Vindication, but it feels a lot whiter (and is easier to balance) if the creatures have wronged you:

      Guilty Verdict--Whenever a creature dealt damage by a creature you control this turn dies, EFFECT.

      It plays into W/B's removal, but also the scorn the elite caste feel towards lessers. Send your slave to die so that you'll benefit when killing a big creature etc.
      That said, the triggers would need to be carefully developed so that they don't just lead to your opponent never blocking or attacking into any creature.

      Breechmender {W}
      Creature-Cat Cleric (C)
      Guilty Verdict--Whenever a creature dealt damage by a creature you control this turn dies, you gain 1 life.
      1/1

      Neckslicer {B}
      Creature-Cat Cleric (C)
      Guilty Verdict--Whenever a creature dealt damage by a creature you control this turn dies, its controller loses 1 life.
      1/1

      Scourgesealer {2}{w/b}
      Creature-Human Cleric (C)
      Guilty Verdict--Whenever a creature dealt damage by a creature you control this turn dies, exile that card.
      3/2

      Soulsealer {3}{W}{W}
      Creature-Cat Cleric (R)
      Guilty Verdict--Whenever a creature dealt damage by a creature you control this turn dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
      2/5

      Enslaver {5}{W}{B}
      Creature-Human Wizard (M)
      Lifelink
      Guilty Verdict--Whenever a creature dealt damage by a creature you control this turn dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control.
      6/6

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    3. Hmm... Maybe it should be:

      Guilty Verdict--Whenever a creature that dealt damage to you or a creature you control this turn dies, EFFECT.

      It'll usually play the same way, but feels more in flavor.

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    4. @Jules - the biggest issue with Guilty Verdict is that it's really hard to make it go off with any reliability. The keyword mechanics are a big draw to the guilds, and one whose relevance is so marginalized just isn't going to have the same oomph to compete with other guilds' mechanics.

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  9. I'm not sure if the Tezzi coyote guys need to be a new type; why not just use hound? And if we're throwing around new humanoid races, I suggest some kind of elkfolk or stagfolk for one of the green guilds as their medium-large race (think minotaur or ogre size), seems like it would fit Grohm or Sahleen fairly well. Humans, Kor, AND Cats feels like a little much on the medium-small side for Zhaavi, maybe they want a medium-large race instead of one of the three?

    As far as the mechanics go, I like lpaulsen's version of unveil, it seems cool. Condemn is less cool although still fine, it's a bit parasitic but not enough to be a killer. Would it read better using it like "When ~ ETBs, condemn target creature" and "Condemn each creature target player controls" with reminder text of "(Put a hex counter on that creature/those creatures)"? I'm not sure. It also feels like it wants to be one word i.e hex target creature (put a hex counter on that creature) to me, but again I'm not sure if that's correct.

    I also felt like including some cards (using the condemn wording I mentioned but I'm not sure which wording I prefer):

    Tattered Spirit 1BB
    Creature - Spirit (U)
    Flying
    Whenever ~ or another creature dies, you may condemn target creature. (Put a hex counter on that creature).

    Zhaavi Imperator 2WW
    Creature - Cat Advisor (R)
    When ~ ETBs, condemn target creature.
    ~ has protection from permanents with hex counters on them.
    2/3

    Interrogate 3BB
    Sorcery (U)
    Condemn target creature, then draw a card for each hex counter among creatures you don't control.

    Judicataal 2WB
    Creature - Human Advisor Assassin (U)
    First strike
    When ~ ETBs, exile target creature.
    2/1

    Crime Scene 3W
    Enchantment (U)
    Creatures you don't control enter the battlefield condemned.

    Zhaavi Detainer W
    Creature - Human Advisor (C)
    When ETBs, condemn target creature.
    T: Tap target creature with a hex counter on it.
    1/1

    Avatar of Chains 4WW
    Creature - Avatar (R)
    When ~ ETBs, condemn target creature.
    Whenever a creature an opponent controls with a hex counter on it becomes tapped, that creature doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
    4/6

    Ritesworn Keeper 2B
    Creature - Kor Advisor (U)
    When ~ ETBs, condemn target creature.
    Whenever a creature an opponent controls dies, that creature's controller loses 1 life for each hex counter on that creature.
    2/3

    Or another card on the same theme:

    Avatar of Souls 4WB
    Creature - Avatar (MR)
    When ~ ETBs, condemn target creature.
    Whenever a creature an opponent controls dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield for each hex counter on that creature.
    5/5

    Wasn't sure if hybrid was in the set but this would work as a mono-color card anyway.

    Ancient Reliquary 2W/B
    Enchantment (U)
    At the beginning of your upkeep, condemn target creature.

    After writing this I realised I spelled Zhaavi with two "a"s the whole time; I was going to go back and change it but I actually think it looks cooler with two so I didn't xD

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    1. I was also going to propose that condemn should be an ability word so that we can use it in places other than creatures' ETB triggers.

      We could also refer to creatures with hex counters on them as 'condemned:'

      Pass Judgment 1B
      Instant (cmn)
      Destroy target condemned creature. (A creature is condemned if it has a hex counter on it.)

      Sin Tax {3}{W}
      Sorcery (unc)
      Condemn target creature. (Put a hex counter on it.)
      Each condemned creature's controller sacrifices it unless he or she pays {1} for each hex counter on it.

      All that said, I do expect making hex counters the only creature counters in the block will prove an expensive design choice. I would be happy to attempt that challenge, though; As much as love P/T counters, I think they're over-used.

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    3. @Aura: I wanted to give a range of options, since if everything is Kor or Human it gets boring (I almost never design non-humanoid creatures - not sure why, my design brain just doesn't make that leap). Ultimately any card we design can be reconcepted down the line, especially since Suvnica in no way wants to be a tribal set.

      I like the werecoyotes since they are traditional tricksters in native american mythology. They're not locked in, but I like the flavor. If we ever reconcept the individual final cards, the ultimate creature type will be determined then.

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    4. The coyotes are cool, I just didn't think they needed a specific type, Hound should work fine. It's like having Tiger, Lion, Lynx etc instead of just Cat. But yes, unless the card needs a specific type to stay flavorful/is a top down design it's not that important right now.

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    5. Foxes are practically coyotes… Another option.

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  10. The Zhavi profile lists the races among the Zhavi, but also this line:
    "Rimid: The most tainted of bloodlines. If the pact permitted their elimination, they would be a long-forgotten memory."
    which crystallizes the fact that your caste is inherited and since every child is the race of its parents, it seems considerably more likely that each caste (at least the ones that respect the caste system) would be comprised of a single race.

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    1. I think that guilds encompass multiple families, not just one dynasty. This was informed by my admittedly superficial research on the caste system in India, where castes weren't just one family or blood line, and each caste included multiple subcates. Even within the Zhavi, there are superior and inferior families, all of whom consider themselves vastly superior to the other guilds.

      The Rimid are a special case. I'll be discussing them later this week or early next, but in short, they're a line of vampires (cursed vampirism) shunned by the rest of the guilds and guildless. They'll have a small handful of human retainers, but most non-vampire creatures on the cards will be non-sentient.

      Delete
    2. But IRL, the families in one caste could marry each other, right? Not sure we want to answer the question "What happens when a leonin and a loxodon fall in love?"

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  11. The Zhavi hate inter-caste interaction, right?

    Dictate — If / As long as there are three or more colors among permanents an opponent controls, EFFECT.

    End Your Blasphemy {1}{B}
    Instant (cmn)
    Dictate — If there are three or more colors among permanents an opponent controls, destroy target creature he or she controls.

    End Your Blasphemy {WB}{WB}
    Creature-Human Knight (unc)
    First strike
    Dictate — As long as there are three or more colors among permanents an opponent controls, ~ has protection from each of them.
    2/2

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    1. In Dissention, there were a pair of creatures that gave pro: monocolor and pre: multicolor respectively, one in white and one in black. They are the colors most likely to care about guild adherence or those that eschew its codes. That said, I don't think a mechanic hosing multicolor play in a multicolor set is going to be balanced. On a few cards these are the colors to do it, but not as a guildwide mechanic.

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    2. I agree, but I think the mechanic should be illustrative of the guild's primary identity. If that identity is enforcing the caste system / guild pact, the mechanic should show that. If not, we should focus on what is the primary identity and play down how much they care about other things.

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  12. Tezzi Firelight 1R
    Instant
    ~ deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
    Unpredictable (When you cast ~, reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a card with the same CMC. You may exile ~ to cast that card without paying its mana cost. Put the other cards revealed this way under your library in any order.)

    or

    Tezzi Inspiration 1UU
    Sorcery
    Draw two cards.
    Unpredictable 3 (When you cast ~, look at the top 3 cards of your library. You may exile ~ to cast one of these cards with the same CMC without paying its mana cost.

    or

    Tezzi Brainstorm 3UR
    Sorcery (unc)
    Draw five cards, then shuffle five cards from your hand into your library.
    Unpredictable (When you cast ~, exile any number of cards from the top of your library. You may exile ~ to cast a card with the same CMC exiled this way without paying its mana cost.

    Each of these has issues, but I like the general idea and maybe it can be fixed.

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    1. It's problematic that the mechanic will often be predictable in constructed where it will often be used to tutor, but I like the basic concept.

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    2. Unpredictable (When you cast ~, look at the top card of your library. You may exile ~ to cast that card without paying its mana cost.)

      Delete
    3. Now there may be a development issue with too many Unexpected Results in the format, but I like this version a lot!

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    4. I actually think the "look at the top card of your deck" version may be the most broken one. Seems far too easy to pile up low-cost instants/sorceries and combine them with huge beasts to repeatedly cast creatures for cheap (since you can use the unpredictable ability of a spell picked up by Unpredictable).

      Delete
    5. I didn't think of chaining them. Good call.
      We can add "from your hand" after "When you cast ~" to stem that tide.
      Even with that change, this is still dangerous. Would definitely need to playtest to see if it's broken.

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  13. Here's a pair of ides that came up to me for the Tezzi. Tezzi want to cast a lot of instants and sorcery, then they should get rewarded for it...

    Fiery Smock {2}{R}
    Instant
    ~ deals 2 damage to target creature
    Trailblaze — If you cast another instant or sorcery spell this turn, ~ deals 4 damage to that creature instead.

    Levitator Madcap {U}{R}
    Creature — Djinn
    Flying
    Trailblaze — When ~ enters the battlefield, if you cast another instant or sorcery spell this turn, ~ gains haste until end of turn.

    Drop the Curtain {U}{U}
    Instant
    Counter target creature spell.
    Trailblaze — If a spell is countered this way and you cast another instant or sorcery sell this turn, you may put the countered spell on top of its owner's library instead of into that player's graveyard.

    Alternatively, make it easier to cast some spells?

    Crescendo (Whenever you cast a spell, you may pay an additional {1} to put a charge counter on this permanent. Remove a charge counters from this permanent to reduce the cost of your next spell by {1} or a mana of any of this creature's colors)

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    1. I like this ability and I think it's the way to move forward, but I don't like the name Trailblaze for it. It sounds land based or adventure-y, neither of which fits the Tezzi. How about Showoff? Or Tricksy. Prankster?? Encore might work.

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    2. Encore is a lovely name. I'm the first to admit names are not my forte. I hold no attachment whatsoever to "Trailblaze" as the name.

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    3. If Storm weren't such a dangerous mechanic, I would suggest "Encore" should be a reverse Storm:

      Encore (Whenever you cast another spell this turn, you may cast a copy of ~ without paying its mana cost.)

      But that's just too dangerous. Although we could modify it…

      Encore [cost] (Whenever you cast another spell this turn, you may cast a copy of ~ for [cost].)

      Not that I think that's better than Trailblaze aka Mini-Storm aka Sane Storm.

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    4. @Jay, you're single-handedly making me want to impose a keyword suggestion limit. Stop being so good at this.

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  14. Way back at the start of this, I wanted to suggest this for the Zhavi:
    Vendetta (This spell costs 1 less to cast for each point of damage dealt to you by opponents since the end of your last turn.)

    Preprints: Vendetta, Assassinate, Afterlife.

    Wilting Elemental 4WW
    Creature - Elemental (c)
    Vendetta
    When ~ etb, you gain X life, where X was the mana spent to cast it.
    4/4

    Survican Rectifier 4WB
    Creature - Human Assassin (u)
    Vendetta
    When Survican Rectifier enters the battlefield, exile target creature that dealt damage to you since the end of your last turn.
    2/2

    The Rare's the most difficult one, though.
    Requiem XWB
    Sorcery (r)
    Vendetta
    Choose one - Each player loses X life, each player draws X cards, each creature has -X/-X until end of turn, or you gain X life. If a player would lose the game due to Requiem, do it again.

    Back at the beginning of the design, infact, I thought about something like:
    Villify 2WB
    Sorcery (u)
    Untap and gain control of target creature. It has haste until end of turn. You lose life equal to that creature’s power.
    “We existed long before your kind even began cognitive thought. We are not immoral. You just haven’t evolved to the point where you understand our motivations yet.”

    When it comes to the UR mechanic, why not something like Spell Transfigure? Something Prowlesqe, maybe, instead.
    Transfix X (X, Exile this spell: Cast a spell card/nonpermanent spell card with equal cmc from your hand. It can't be countered.) <--- Not too sure on my wording or the intent behind it, just a small idea for someone with better sensibilities to expand on I suppose.

    Throttleshock 1R
    Sorcery (c)
    Throttleshock deals 2 damage to target creature.
    Transfix 1RR

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    1. Ah, so you're more mana to make a CMC2 spell of any color uncounterable. Not too bad... playing in the same transfigure area...

      Translate ({T}, sacrifice this creature: cast a spell with the same CMC from your hand without paying its mana cost.)

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    2. My biggest beef with Vendetta (ha!) is the memory issues involved with tracking possible multiple instances of life loss across multiple turns. It becomes a nightmare in EDH, for instance. If it was a spell keyword that only showed up on instants, or if it was something that allowed you to cast things as though they had flash immediately after you took damage, I could see that playing a little better.

      Bad Vendetta Example - 5B
      Creature - Cat Soldier (common)
      2/2
      Intimidate
      Vendetta (whenever a source an opponent causes you to lose life, you may immediately cast ~. If you do, its mana cost is reduced by {1} for each life you lost this turn)

      Balancing the numbers would be a nightmare, but TDP.

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  15. I think I just finished adding over 70 cards to the file. One guild keyword a week from now on.

    ReplyDelete